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Penstemon glandulosus var. glandulosus - eastern slope of Hells Canyon, Idaho.

Penstemon glandulosus var. glandulosus – eastern slope of Hells Canyon, Idaho.

Penstemon glandulosus is a member of subgenus Saccanthera. There are two varieties: var. glandulosus, featured here, and var. chelansensis. The latter is distributed along the eastern slope of the Cascades in Washington and across the Columbia River in northern Hood River County, Oregon. Penstemon glandulosus var. glandulosus is found in southeastern Washington, through the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon and along the Snake River drainage of western Idaho. Plants are typically found in open, rocky habitats.

The distinctive feature of this species is that it is glandular throughout – the stems and inflorescences are covered in sticky hairs.  The common name is “Sticky-stem Penstemon,” which aptly describes the plant when you touch it. The plants can reach just over 1 m in height (40 inches) while in bloom.  It occurs in rich soils at elevations up to 1400 m (4600 ft), and it is easy to grow in the garden.

Penstemon glandulosus var. glandulosus - Hells Canyon

Penstemon glandulosus var. glandulosus – Hells Canyon

The flowers of this species are very showy. There are two types of leaves – at the base of the plant the leaves have a long petiole and are somewhat lanceolate in shape, but along the stems the leaves are clasping and ovate. The margins are serrate.

Stem leaves of P. glandulosus var. glandulosus

Stem leaves of P. glandulosus var. glandulosus

The anthers are saccate (opening across the connective, but closed at the distal ends), and have toothed sutures.  The staminode is glabrous, exserted, and flattened at the tip.

Saccate anthers and exserted staminode

Saccate anthers and exserted staminode

Here are some other photos of this lovely species. I most recently visited it during the 2013 American Penstemon Society meeting, which was based in Boise, Idaho. The Monday field trip was to Hells Canyon and vicinity. We saw a lot of species that day!

flowers of P. glandulosus

flowers of P. glandulosus

Penstemon glandulosus var. glandulosus

Penstemon glandulosus var. glandulosus

Flowers of P. glandulosus

Flowers of P. glandulosus

Photos by Andi Wolfe ©2013 -All rights reserved

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